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Prosecutors take issue with defense expert in Williams case


Prosecutors take issue with defense expert in Williams case

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:53 pm

Lynsi Burton

A Thursday court hearing in the Hana Williams homicide case focused on whether a defense expert will be allowed to observe work scheduled Friday on the exhumed body of the teen girl.

The issue was part of the ongoing case against Larry and Carri Williams, who are accused of homicide by abuse and first-degree manslaughter for Hana’s May 2011 death.

Hana’s body had been exhumed to confirm that she was younger than 16 at the time of her death — a requirement that must be fulfilled for the homicide by abuse charge to hold. Hana was believed to be 13 at the time of her death.

Doctors were scheduled to perform an X-ray and pull two of her teeth in the King County Medical Examiner’s office on Friday. Defense expert and forensic pathologist Carl Wigren was to observe the tooth extraction.

However, Chief Medical Examiner Richard Harruff alerted Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich via email Tuesday of what he called offensive and threatening comments Wigren made about guns and a fellow case investigator on a medical examiners’ Listserv.

As a result, Harruff requested Wigren not be allowed in the medical examiner’s office Friday, writing that “Dr. Wigren has shown such disregard for polite behavior.”

The comments in question included support for retaining gun rights and a joke that he almost put a gun to his head today after working with a fellow examiner who extracted portions of Hana’s organs as part of the investigation.

Larry Williams’ defense attorney Rachel Forde dismissed Weyrich’s motion to bar Wigren, observing the investigation as “absurd.”

Judge Susan Cook ruled that Wigren will be allowed to observe Friday’s proceedings, but not be in the room or participate.

2013 Jan 17